London is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe and this has made it one of the most visited cities in the UK. There are approximately 27 million tourists who visit the city to view its magnificent tourist attractions and heritage sites.This makes it one of the most visited tourist hot spots in the world. Besides the main tourist attractions, there are the hidden corners of London that most visitors are not aware of but are definitely worth a visit.
As a two thousand year old city, there are certain parts of the capital that many long time residents are also not familiar with.
Here are some of the hidden treasures of the city you will not find in most guide books:
The most popular mode of transport in London is the Tube. It is the oldest metro system on the planet and is one of the most convenient methods to get around. A little known fact is there is a lot more attached to the underground then is popularly known.
The city has an extensive network of tube stations that lie abandoned. Remember the first underground train began its services in 1863 – that is more than a half and a century ago. As a consequence a large number of tunnels, platforms and stations were built, used over time and then fell into disuse. At present there are close to two dozen stations that lie uncared for and derelict below the ground. One of the more prominent is the defunct British Museum Station which is truly fascinating.
During World War II there were deep level shelters built build way below the ground with some even being below the tube lines. They were intended to be used as bomb shelters but never inhabited and now serve as storage areas for the government. There is a society known as Subterranea Britannica which specialises in the exploration of these subterranean spaces.
The banks of the Thames have been inhabited by people since Neolithic times. This has resulted in it serving as a dumping ground for old bottles, pottery and various kinds of trash over the centuries. It can be termed as a repository of sorts for unused and waste junk. The Thames is a tidal river with the water level rising and falling every 24 hours. When the water recedes during low tide you will find otherwise concealed staircases that lead down to the rocky ground beneath the river. It is said that beachcombers usually come across bits and pieces of pottery and other relics which are lifted and deposited by the rise and ebb of the river water. In many of the British museums, displays of these artifacts are available to view by the public. You can see anything from old Nokia phone sets to very old Victorian coins.
London is also famous for something else that is downright spooky and straight out an Edgar Allan Poe novel. With a history as old as the city and being witness to so many political and royal intrigues and executions, it is only natural for there to be tales of ghosts. There are loads of stories of ghosts haunting different areas of the city with numerous unconfirmed sightings. Travel around the older parts of the city and you are bound to come across stately homes and palaces among taverns and pubs which are alleged to be haunted.
Whether these exist as a fact or just a part of folklore is anybody’s guess and if you are the adventurous sort and willing to test your ESP you could take a night time tour of areas rumored to be haunted. There are various organized tours conducted in the night, especially for visitors and tourists and you could join up any of these. As to whether you believe in any of it or scoff at the very thought, it will make for a most interesting and adrenaline filled experience which you are unlikely to forget.
With a prolific history, there are innumerable haunting sightings and ghost stories that have been circulating in the city for very long while. After all the city was home to Jack the Ripper and the High gate Vampire among other infamous entities. In fact present day Liverpool Street Station has been built on what used to become to a mental asylum. You will find that more than half of London has been built atop of burial grounds and plague pits. Some of the places that are reputedly haunted include graveyards, houses and theaters.
You could also join a walking tour to learn more about the hidden secrets of the city with a thousand ghosts. Of course there is no guarantee that you will meet one – unless you are finely attuned to the metaphysical realms!
It is these facts that make London such a fascinating city be it by day or night. After all, it is only natural that if a city has been in existence for as long as London has been, there are going to be many, many secrets hidden within it. From hidden tunnels to forgotten landmarks that have been buried with time and in the name of progress,London has secrets that are just waiting to be explored!